B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson attends a press conference following the budget speech from the legislative assembly at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Wilkinson under fire for characterizing domestic violence as ‘a tough marriage’

The B.C. NDP have pledged to implement five days pay for those leaving domestic violence

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has drawn the ire of domestic abuse advocates after characterizing those fleeing violence as “people who are in a tough marriage.”

The comment was made by the opposition leader Wednesday to Red FM radio show host Harjinder Thind, a day after the B.C. NDP pledged to provide five days of paid leave for people leaving domestic or sexual violence during the annual throne speech.

ALSO READ: B.C. touts Indigenous reconciliation in protest-delayed throne speech

“Well, it’s a huge disappointment because there is absolutely nothing in it,” Wilkinson said.

“They basically talked about what’s happened in the last two years and offered nothing for the future. They talked about guns in hospitals, which nobody has ever heard of, they talked about rural policing and they talked about five days pay for people who are in a tough marriage and that’s it.”

ALSO READ: Surrey woman’s ‘tell-all’ book aims to help those struggling with domestic violence

Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity Mitzi Dean, who represents the riding of Esquimalt-Metchosin, took to social media to condemn the statement.

“These comments dismiss the devastating violence that too many people face every day. He should know better.”

The Ending Violence Association of B.C. also took to social media to combat Wilkinson’s comment with a number of statistics that depict the serious – and fatal – nature of domestic violence in the province.

“We beg you to get informed as domestic and sexual violence occurs upwards of 60,000 times a year in B.C. alone and deeply affects whole families,” the association said in on tweet.

“Between the years 2010 and 2015, 100 people died as a result of domestic violence in B.C. It’s much more than a ‘tough marriage’ as BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson suggested this morning,” it said in another post.

Wilkinson released a statement of apology on social media shortly before 12:30 p.m.

ALSO READ: Two women take on province over domestic abuse legal aid

“This was the wrong choice of words and I got it wrong,” he said. “Victims of domestic violence need their voices heard and our unwavering support, and I want everyone to know they have that with me.”

The apology didn’t stop Premier John Horgan from commenting.

“I can’t believe that in 2020 a man would say such a thing,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Wilkinson apologized for comments he made after drawing criticism from British Columbians and opposing politicians.

In March 2019, Wilkinson was slammed for calling his time as a younger renter “fun,” “wacky” and “a rite of passage” while questioning the need for legislation that protects renters from rate hikes and instability.

Two days later, he apologized and said he would have phrased his comments differently.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: Helping one another through these challenging times

Director’s Notes by CSRD Area C director Paul Demenok

Okanagan real estate market stable; bracing for slowdown due to COVID-19

Real estate board projects slowdown as the economic impacts of the pandemic continue to develop

May fundraisers for Salmon Arm non-profits postponed

Literacy Alliance spelling bee, Hit2Fit boxing event on hold due to COVID-19

COVID19 pushes Salmon Arm boxing coach into students’ living rooms

Needs of students with Parkinson’s prompts Bulldogs’ Peggy Maerz into Zoom Room

Summerland Action Festival cancelled

COVID-19 pandemic leads to decision to stop large outdoor event

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Emergency services respond to numerous incidents on Highway 1

Today there were multiple semi truck crashes on Highway 1 and a collision by the hospital

Large item collection events cancelled in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Concerns about spread of COVID-19 led to decision to cancel collection events

COVID-19: postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19: Central Okanagan fire departments only responding to serious medical calls

The new directive from Dr. Bonnie Henry does not change the public safety response of firefighters

Okanagan business produces plexiglass barriers with a cause

Mouldings and More is donating barrier proceeds to local food banks

53 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., four new deaths

B.C. has 498 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

Organizers hoping to hold Summerland Fall Fair

COVID-19 pandemic may result in changes to agricultural celebration

Most Read